London, Ont., resident wins impromptu speech contest at Toastmasters District 86 conference
By: Toastmasters District 86
The London resident joined Toastmasters International in 2010 to improve his communications skills for work at Canada Revenue Agency. He's since earned the Distinguished Toastmasters certification and taken on leadership roles assisting Toastmasters clubs across southwestern Ontario.
"I had given many presentations before joining Toastmasters, but I joined Toastmasters to try to make my delivery a little smoother. Little did I imagine how much more I would learn," he says.
Improved self-confidence overcomes apprehension about competing in public speaking contests – and he recently won the Toastmasters Table Topics competition at the 2022 Toastmasters District 86 Conference, April 22-24 in Mississauga.
"It's one thing to speak in front of 25 people. But it is something else to speak in front of a few hundred, knowing that twelve of them have judges' ballots and are literally judging you. This is an area where Toastmasters has helped me grow a great deal."
All competitors were each told the topic "Regret" as they readied to speak — and then immediately delivered a 1-2 minute speech based on the topic.
The impromptu speech contest finals included winners from local club, area, and district contests across southwestern Ontario, Niagara, and parts of the Greater Toronto Area. Cunningham is a member of Strathroy Toastmasters (https://strathroytoastmasters.toastmastersclubs.org) and London TaxMasters (https://916925.toastmastersclubs.org).
Myra Grygorachyk placed second in the competition. She's a member of Talk of the Town Toastmasters in Kitchener.
Roger Cogle, placed third. He's a member of Glen Abbey Toastmasters, Oakville.
Toastmasters is a public speaking club where members support one another as everyone practices their communication skills. These are competitions that foster support for all competitors and build friendships.
"Toastmasters are not competitors in the normal sense of the word. We support and encourage each other toward a common goal," Cunningham said.
Toastmasters is based on personal growth and learning how to overcome challenges, Cunningham said.
"The more you stretch your comfort zone, the larger your comfort zone becomes. Toastmasters meetings are a safe and supportive place to do that. That increased self-confidence carries into every aspect of your life."
About Toastmasters District 86
Toastmasters District 86 represents the heartland of Ontario, comprising 135 community and corporate clubs with more than 2,000 members. The district supports clubs from London in the southwest to Owen Sound in the north: Waterloo Region and Guelph; and Niagara, Hamilton, and parts of Mississauga in the Golden Horseshoe around Lake Ontario. To learn more about District 86, please visit: http://www.toastmasters86.org/
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